What it means to be a Sex Worker
Art by Emi Westside
“You can’t be a feminist if you do sex work,” is a phrase that most of my clients have told me time and time again. They tell me that even though it’s my body, at the end of the day, the men have ultimate control because of their financial dominance. However, what they don’t realize, is that I don’t do this as a last resort because I so desperately need money; I simply realize that there’s a market for young girls meeting with older men and I exploit that while I can.
People range from calling me a prostitute, an escort, or a sugar baby, but I prefer to generalize my line of work as sex work. The one consistency between all of these titles is the overwhelmingly negative connotation that they all hold. When most people think of sex work they picture being forced into human trafficking or being “owned” by men for the sake of financial stability. Although I don’t want to create an image that forced sex work doesn’t happen, I want to be able to shine a light on sex workers and give us a voice that we never get.
Most people probably wonder why I decided to voluntarily got into sex work, and the simple answer is: why not? Being young and already having been in two long term relationships of 1+ years each, I wanted to fuck around (quite literally) with hookup culture. There was no emotional connection with any of the guys I hooked up with, and quite honestly, most of them were really bad in bed; like bad enough that I figured that I might as well get paid for my time and effort. So, from there I ventured onto sites like seeking.com, made a tinder profile just for business purposes, and ended up getting recruited to multiple agencies. As a young girl who markets herself as open to absolutely anything with nothing off the table, it’s not difficult to find clients, whether they be searching for companionship, a girlfriend for the night, or a high end booty call.
A lot of people complain that college is too hard and joke that they’ll drop out to join my line of work, but the reality is that it’s not that easy. These men don’t pay top dollar for the kind of sex that their girlfriend or wife could give them, they come to play out their kinky hidden fantasies. Some of my unusual requests have been men asking me to pee on them, to putting them down hard enough that they cry while they jack off, to asking for pictures of my high heels just so they could get off from their imagination of what I “could do to [them] in those heels.” Essentially, I deal with out-of-the-ordinary requests on a daily basis and in return request anywhere between 40,000 and 200,000 yen per meeting. Do I think that some of these kinks and requests are fucking weird? Absolutely. Do I think that all of my clients are pathetic for needing to pay for intimacy? Without a doubt. Will I continue to exploit men just because I can? 100%.
While I fully recognize how gross my clients are, I don’t stop because I know that if someone I was hooking up with expressed a similar request or kink I wouldn’t turn it down, purely because life is too short to say no to trying new things. So, on top of being able to figure out my own kinks and what kind of things I’m willing to do, I get paid for these new experiences. However, it’s important to note that everything that happens in these meetings is mutually consensual, and will only happen if I am 100% comfortable with it. Even if I agree prior to meeting and change my mind during my time with them, my clients will generally respect my wishes to refrain from whatever they had asked for.
Despite my trail of luck with clients respecting my boundaries and understanding the idea of consent, I realize that not all sex workers are as fortunate. Even though consent should go without saying, sex workers in particular are at a high risk of facing sexual violence, and considering this line of work, cannot turn to the police for protection against it. However, I shouldn’t need to feel “lucky” for coming out of my shifts unharmed or “grateful” when clients respect my boundaries of comfort. Sex worker or not, women deserve to be treated like human beings, and this culture that we should praise men who respect us is bullshit. To all men: consent can be revoked at any time, and when that happens, the normal thing to should be respect the wishes of whoever you’re with. At the end of the day, whether it’s a sex worker, a friend, or your partner, it’s our bodies and we don’t owe you anything.
In regards to safety concerns while I work, maintaining my body’s health and protecting my identity has been fairly easy thus far. On top of my agencies requiring monthly health checks from all of their castmates, they perform background checks on all of the clients that come through, and never give out real information about me. While freelance work is harder to ensure the integrity of my clients (of some who end up being frauds), online profiles are easily manipulable, and allow me to change my name and age every few months. To some men I’m 18 years old and to others I’m 21 years old, but always with a name that I pick from a random name generator.
With the freedom to manipulate my identity between clients, I can become whoever they want me to be. To some, I’m Hinako*, who takes school seriously and can engage in conversations on sociology and philosophy with ease, to others, I’m Katie*, who loves travelling, adventuring, and new experiences. This versatility is what has led to my success with clients, while also ensuring that my real identity continues to stay hidden. While some people might consider this to be catfishing or leading these men on, both my clients and I understand that these meetings are no-strings-attached, and will never lead to any relationship of substance. Most clients ask for our time together to be discrete, and I have no problem with that. Though it can be tempting to use these pleas of discretion against these men as blackmail, maintaining the integrity of sex work comes before scamming men whose only assets include too much money to know what to do with.
The one downside of this industry that continues to haunt me is my inability to form relationships with people. While I can just cover that I work a normal part-time job to family and friends, I can’t engage in the dating scene while actively being a sex worker. Most of my friends who know that I do this are supportive, but also warn me about being in the dating and sex work scenes simultaneously. Despite being able to joke around with guys that I hook up with that I’m “cutting them a really good deal” by not having them pay me to take me on a date, no one looking to be your boyfriend wants to hear that you sleep with people for money. That being said, I’m still young and not looking for a (serious) relationship, but if life somehow throws someone worth it my way, I would easily consider changing my line of work.
While a lot of this article has undertones against men, I wouldn’t be able to support myself so easily without this breed of men. That being said, sex work isn’t my only option for working; it just happens to be the easiest and highest paying. As I near the end of my university career, I’m leaning more towards finding internships and desk jobs, and looking to wean off of sex work as my main job. I know that I can’t continue in this line of work forever, but that’s mainly because less men show interest as sex workers age, which is why I’m taking advantage of this while I can. Overall, it’s my body and my choice, and if men are going to try and objectify my body, I might as well make a profit from it.
In no way am I encouraging that all women go into sex work, but if you’re comfortable with it, why not?
If you have any kind of questions or comments on sex work, please contact Uprizine directly and we can get you in touch with the author of this article.
*Names have been modified for privacy reasons.